Yesterday I ran across what I believe makes a real case for finding your “signature style.” It had specifically to do with childhood cognitive development, though I am certain it pertains to adults, too. When we learn anything new, we have to associate it with related concepts that we already understand if we are to assimilate it. Otherwise, we are consigned to repeat the same lesson over and over. This is sometimes referred to as “reinventing the wheel.”
What I describe explains why most people take the same route to work every day and perform daily activities in the same sequence of operations. Habit. It’s not creative, and it might not be the best way to go about something, but it gets the important things done without having to relearn them constantly. What if you had to figure out from scratch how to get to work every day? Or what order and methods you would use to brush your teeth, shower, and dress?
Learning is built upon what Jean Piaget (1896-1980), the Swiss psychologist, called schema. He defined schema as “a cohesive, repeatable action sequence possessing component actions that are tightly interconnected and governed by a core meaning.” His work was with children, but the concept of schema applies to anyone.
“So what’s that got to do with my style philosophy?” you may ask.
A signature style is the schema upon which your expanded style is built. It is that program “running in the background” that you don’t have to relearn everyday. it is not the same thing as a “capsule wardrobe,” though it can surely assist you in creating one. But it is the reason your outfits can be extremely varied while still looking distinctively you.
Do you realize what that means? A signature style becomes an enormous creative springboard as well as a huge money and time saver. In addition, it ties your outfits together with an organic consistency while also giving you a distinctive and authentic presence.
Are those reasons enough to find your signature style?